Friday, April 4, 2008

Wildflowers in The Woodlands Texas 2008

Creekside Village Park

Each year the development company plants wild flowers along major roads in The Woodlands. 2008 is no exception. However, early this spring, the flowers seemed not as spectacular as prior years. Perhaps the intense rains we had at critical times contributed to the more lackluster results this year. We have seen better results lately as the temperature rises and more of the blooms are opening for us to view. Locations where I looked included some of the normal intense spots on Gosling, Woodlands Parkway and 242. There was a really nice field of Bluebonnets at the new park in Creekside Park Village. I did not label many of these. I am asking for readers to try to help me identify them. Please excuse my ignorance of the names of wildflowers. I want to learn to identify them, so I am seeking help by posting them. There is also a slide show of these and last year's photos in the government section of the blog.

I made sure I passed by most of the spots marked on the map of the plantings as described by The Woodlands Association: Click here for Map. Additional information describing the process is available at the Association website by clicking here. There are a number of photographs posted below for your viewing pleasure. You can view larger versions of any photograph by clicking on its picture. The photographs are arranged by:
(1) those planted and
(2)those I believe to be indigenous to the area.
I have distinguished the two by general location - those along the roadside and others in the forest. Locations where roadside plantings cannot occur are considered indigenous in this article. This is an arbitrary distinction to isolate those growing natural and those artificially introduced to the ecology. California varieties are distributed each year at the Wildflower festival here in The Woodlands during the fall for residents to plant, so there are wildflowers not native to our area in many locations.

Let's first view the "planted", in two groups -
(a)the Oklahoma and Texas mix, and
(b)the Bluebonnet mix.
These two types of mixes are planted differently. See the map for the newly planted locations this year.

A. Planted species :

1. Oklahoma and Texas mix
The particular varieties shown are like long stemmed flowers. They are puffs of flowers on thin long stalks blown by the wind. It was difficult to get a clear camera focus because the wind blows them so much! There are many color variations as evidenced in these photos. I found concentrations of these on Gosling near Creekside Park Village and on The Woodlands Parkway in Sterling Village close to the Walmart area. You find them almost everywhere.
Indian Springs
Sterling Ridge
Blooms on this beautiful species are significantly different. Bright white wildflowers present a striking contrast to the other wildflowers.

Note the bee. I followed this little busy fellow until he finally stayed on one flower long enough to photograph. I recommend clicking this one. I also tried to get a photo of an elusive butterfly, which visited some of the flowers. It was my first sighting this year of the Monarch.

Here we have a field of colors but sparsely blooming at this time. There are many plants not yet blooming and each plant is spreading with multiple buds. It is early in the season. When looking at the number of plants yet to bloom, obviously there is considerable potential for many flowers yet to show their splendid glory! April will be a much better viewing month.

Cochran's Crossing These Bluebonnets were found on Gosling just south of Research Forest. Yes, the white one is a Bluebonnet also. They come is several colors but the mix is probably intended to be the pure blue variety. So we get a white one in the bunch. A nice change of pace.

College Park

B. Indigenous species

Sterling Ridge Panther Creek
On the water canal behind the YMCA on Shadowbend.
Some wildflowers are so small that one must literally get down on one's hands and knees to see them clearly. This is such a variety.
Dewberry is a prickly vine with really nice flowers. These are everywhere along the trails, along the creeks, along everything wild. In May, their black berries make great cobblers!
Indian Springs

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